Home Textile Inspections

Consumers count on their bedding, towels, and pillows holding up and remaining soft throughout their lifetime. Any defects like improper stitching, holes, spots, tearing, harmful chemicals, or improper flammability can damage your brand’s reputation, open your business up to liability claims, and saddle you with costly recalls. 

You can avoid that by getting expert home textile inspection from QIMA, a supply chain compliance firm. The company has six in-house labs and a team of trained textile experts who can hunt for the smallest imperfections. They work with businesses in 85 countries and are keenly aware of international regulations that apply to your products.

These experts check for dimensional stability, seam strength, vapor resistance, color shading, and flammability, among other key characteristics. A smoother process between you and your customers saves time and money. Inspections and quality control allow you to peer into every aspect of your supply chain, even if it’s scattered around the world. 

One of the more prominent inspection systems comes from OKEO-TEX, a Japanese-European consortium of 18 independent research and test institutes. Together, they develop the standards for various certifications and marks for products. The company supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

The consortium’s Standard 100 certification allows manufacturers of home textiles to label their products as meeting stringent conditions. Companies can request extensions to this certification and agree to regular, independent audits. Most of the time, this happens every three years. Such a designation can help you comply with retailers’ lists of restricted substances and shows consumers your interest in making sustainable products.

Fines for violating strict regulations on flammability can run you up to $6,000 per product. QIMA inspectors can ensure your products can be sold in the United States by testing them in relation to three classes of flammability, with the third being the most severe. The U.S. bars the sale of any textile items considered “dangerously flammable,” or with short burn times in fabric testing. This does sometimes depend on the type of material.

Chemicals are also important, of course, since the presence of any harmful substances can have an array of health effects. These include respiratory and skin irritation, various cancers, and organ damage. Inspectors will pore over products for banned carcinogenic dyes, Hexavalent Chromium, and formaldehyde.

Founded in 1921, the nonprofit American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists helps develop test methods across the textile industry. They include home laundering, including hand and machine washing, and checking any transfer of free permethrin from textile surfaces. The association reviews its testing standards — like reactions to perspiration and light — every five years.

According to data firm Statista, consumers will spend $66.5 billion a year on home textiles by the year 2030. This includes sheets and bedding, which make up most of the home textiles sold each year. Getting testing, inspections, and insight into your entire process can be invaluable when the market is only going to get bigger. 

Standards of Yarn Quality

What Are the Main Standards of Yarn Quality?

Evenness refers to the amount of variations in mass per unit of a length of yarn. This characteristic can be seen with the naked eye and it is the first parameter to be measured when assessing the quality of yarn.

Complete evenness is almost impossible to achieve due to the nature of raw fiber.

Too much unevenness will cause weaknesses in the yarn and ultimately breakage will occur.

Yarn count refers to the thickness or fineness of a yarn. The yarn count is measured by wrapping the yarn around a rod. An inch of the wraps is measured out, then counted.

Knowing the yarn count is imperative to a hobbyist when choosing yarn for a project. The pattern or draft will dictate the size of yarn needed to produce the desired outcome.

Breaking strength or tensile strength measures the amount of pressure that is needed to break the yarn when pulled apart. Breaking strength is measured on a machine that clamps a length of yarn at each end and pulls.

Elongation is the amount of give a yarn has. A yarn that stretches before reaching the breaking point when pulled apart is a strong yarn. 

A yarn that has a little give, is easier to work with and does not show minor mistakes.

Twist is what happens when yarn is spun. Twist holds the fibers together. The amount of twist determines the strength and overall quality of the yarn. 

A well spun yarn must be balanced. If there is too much twist, the yarn will double back on itself and become useless. However, too little twist will make a weak yarn that will break when knitted or woven.

Yarn is spun in either direction to create a twist. Yarn spun in a clockwise direction is referred to as a z twist. Yarn that is spun counterclockwise has an s twist.

Two or more yarns can be plied, or spun, together to create a stronger yarn. When yarn is plied, it must be spun in the opposite direction that it was spun.

Chemicals Used In Yarn

Turning fiber into yarn is a multistep process. Many chemicals are used in that process.

What Chemicals are Typically Found In Yarn

Chemical solvents are used in manufacturing to break down substances. They are used sometimes to clean raw fibers that will be spun into yarn. Trichloroethylene, benzene and methanol are the most common.

Surfactants are also used as detergents, wetting agents or emulsifiers in the manufacture and dyeing of yarn.

Dyeing yarn is a toxic process. Many chemicals are used, including the following:   

  • Dispersants prevent the redeposit of dyes.
  • Leveling agents help the fiber take the dye better.
  • Vat levelling agents slow the dye takeup process

Before dyeing, yarns are bleached with peroxide stabilizers. Then, peroxide killers are used to  stop the bleaching process. A neutralizer is then added to adjust the ph level

In addition to the chemicals used in manufacturing and processing yarn, water is used in almost every step. Water carries the residue of the very substances it washes out. If the water is not run through a filtration system before it’s deposited, it will pollute the waterway.

Yarn spun from natural fibers, either from animals or plants may carry traces of chemicals used in their growth. Plants, such as cotton and linen, that are treated with pesticides will contain residue from those pesticides. The fleece of sheep and other fiber-bearing animals will also carry trace amounts of residue from antibiotics or other medicines.

Acrylic yarn, or polyacrylonitrile is a type of plastic made from fossil fuels. It is the result of a chemical reaction that includes using very strong solvents that create a plastic gel that is forced through holes or spinnerets. The gel dries into threads which are spun into yarn. Acrylic yarn not only contains chemicals, it is a chemical.

Why Should a Hobbiest Care?

Yarn can hold the residue of the chemicals it comes in contact with throughout its lifetime. Studies have shown they are only trace amounts and not enough to be harmful, they can however, irritate your skin or the skin of the wearer of a knitted or crocheted garment.

Acrylic yarn, or polyacrylonitrile, is a chemical compound. Not only is it completely man made, but it can be harmful. Polyacrylonitrile was found by the EPA to produce symptoms similar to cyanide poisoning. Acrylic yarn is also thought to be carcinogenic.

How To Prevent Using Yarn With Chemicals 

When you are shopping for yarn that doesn’t contain chemicals avoid craft store chains. Find an owned yarn store or shop online.

How To Find Chemical Free Yarn

If you have a local yarn store in your community, please shop there first. Ask their staff for organic or fair trade yarn. If they don’t have it, ask them if they can stock it. Small business owners want to please their customers. If people continue to ask for something, the owners will provide it.

If you order online, use the website’s search tool. Search words like organic, natural, fair trade, ethically sourced or sustainable.

The Benefits of Hemp and Nettle Yarn?

Yarn made from hemp and nettle plants are inherently chemical free as these plants are naturally pest-free and don’t require pesticides.

Hemp and nettle yarns also contain antibacterial properties. They are a great alternative to cotton when knitting, crocheting or weaving dishtowels and washcloths.

The Yarn Quality Index

What Is the Yarn Quality Index?

Yarn, whether it’s used by a hobbyist, or in manufacturing, is an important component in determining the quality of a fabric. The yarn quality index is a standardized system for evaluating the structure of yarn and thread.

On the yarn quality index, four properties of fiber are taken into consideration, they include:

  • Yarn fineness, or yarn count and yarn density contribute to quality. Yarn fineness refers to the thickness of a yarn. Thickness can’t be measured with a tape measure so it is determined in wraps per inch or yarn count. To determine yarn count, the yarn is wrapped around a rod then the wraps are counted to the inch.  Yarn density refers to the weight of the yarn.
  • Twist and direction of the twist determines strength. Yarn is made by spinning raw fiber into one continuous strand, this is called a single. Often two or more singles are spun together or plied this increases the strength of the yarn. The degree of twist determines the strength of the yarn. The tighter the twist the stronger the fiber. 
  • Single yarn strength is also called yarn fastness. A weak yarn will compromise the integrity of the finished item. A strong yarn will not break when it is knitted or woven into fabric. 
  • Appearance quality of yarn. Yarn is visually inspected for areas of thinness, slubs, or unevenness in color.

This index is not an absolute determination of quality. The very characteristics that are considered low quality can make some yarns desirable. There is no good or bad yarn

Who Uses the Yarn Quality Index and How?

Manufacturers of yarn and textiles use the quality index. They employ a variety of scientific tests that have been constructed by the ASTM to ensure quality. To ensure consistency of outcomes, the tests are performed on machines.